Second Thoughts: First Introductions to Philosophy

Maureen Sie* (Editor), Bart Engelen (Editor)

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Book/ReportBook editingPopular

    2960 Downloads (Pure)


    An open educational and open-ended resource for whomever is interested in philosophical thinking. In this scholarly handbook you find two kinds of chapters. First, there are chapters that provide a broad introduction into a specific philosophical subdiscipline, such as political philosophy, epistemology or metaphysics. As this collection covers most of the sub-disciplines currently taught at Western philosophy departments, you can legitimately claim that you have been introduced to Western ‘philosophy’ as a whole, understood rather canonically, after having read the entire handbook. Second, there are chapters that introduce slightly more specific topics or philosophical approaches.

    The open-ended nature of this handbook, means that new chapters will be added in the future. We hope that philosophy will change and grow with time to become more diverse and inclusive and that this handbook will do so as well. We think of philosophy and its evolution as an organic process, as a tree that branches out in many different directions, adding new directions as it goes along. In this handbook, we organize the wide variety of topics that philosophers discuss into four main branches, which represent important subject areas that philosophers have covered.

    First, there is ‘thinking about societies’, which includes chapters that cover philosophical approaches to matters of obvious societal relevance. How should we organize our societies? How should we treat others? What exactly are cultures and what role do they play in a globalized world? This branch covers philosophical discussions, theories and views on what binds and divides us as societies and communities.

    Second, there is ‘thinking about humans’, which includes chapters that zoom in on people, the members that make up those societies. Is there something like human nature and what does that look like? How do human minds and bodies relate to each other? Are we free or not? This branch covers what one could broadly call ‘philosophical anthropology’: philosophical discussions, theories and views on what it means to be human.

    Third, there is ‘thinking about thinking’, which include chapters that focus on the ways in which humans can relate to the outside world. How can we come to know things about that world? What is truth exactly? What are the values and limits of scientific understanding? How do we reason and argue and how do we do so properly? This branch covers philosophical discussions, theories and views on how humans come to believe things about themselves and the worlds they live in.

    Fourth, there is ‘thinking about reality’, which includes chapters that investigate those worlds in more direct ways. Do things have an essence?
    What do we mean when we say that some things exist and others do not? How can language help us access the reality out there? This branch covers philosophical discussions, theories and views on the world we, as humans, find ourselves in.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationTilburg
    PublisherOpen Press TiU
    ISBN (Print)9789462406636
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


    • Philosophy
    • Textbook


    Dive into the research topics of 'Second Thoughts: First Introductions to Philosophy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this